Nov 13, 2021; Bloomington, Indiana, USA;  The Rutgers Scarlet Knights defensive back Max Melton (16) intercepts a ball meant for Indiana Hoosiers wide receiver Ty Fryfogle (3) during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Isaih Pacheco helps Rutgers trounce Indiana

Isaih Pacheco rushed for 79 yards and two touchdowns, lifting Rutgers to a 38-3 win over Indiana on Saturday in Big Ten play at Bloomington, Ind.

The Scarlet Knights (5-5, 2-5 Big Ten) moved within a win of bowl eligibility by taking advantage of Indiana mistakes. Rutgers scored 17 points off of two Indiana turnovers and a muffed punt. Starting quarterback Noah Vedral added 97 yards passing and a rushing touchdown for the Scarlet Knights.

The Hoosiers (2-8 0-7) dropped their sixth straight game. Indiana used three quarterbacks — starting true freshman Donaven McCulley before turning to Jack Tuttle and Grant Gremel. None were effective. Tuttle, making his first appearance since suffering a foot injury on Oct. 23 against Ohio State, threw two interceptions before suffering a leg injury in the second quarter that forced him out of the game.

Rutgers cashed in on an early Indiana turnover. On the opening play of the game, Rutgers recovered a fumble at Indiana’s 21-yard line on a botched exchange from McCulley to running back Davion
Ervin-Poindexter. Four plays later, Pacheco scored on an 8-yard touchdown run, giving Rutgers a quick 7-0 lead.

The Scarlet Knights extended their lead to 14-0 later in the first quarter, putting together a 9-play, 70-yard drive, capped by a 3-yard touchdown run from Pacheco.

Early in the second quarter, Rutgers converted more points off an Indiana turnover when linebacker Tyreem Powell intercepted a Tuttle pass at the Rutgers 24-yard line. The possession ended with
Valentino Ambrosio’s 38-yard field goal, extending the Rutgers lead to 17-0.

Indiana got on the scoreboard late in the first half. McCulley connected with receiver Ty Fryfogle on a 46-yard pass play down to the Rutgers 29-yard line with 16 seconds left in the first half. After missing a 38-yard field goal earlier in the game, Charles Campbell connected on a 47-yard field goal with two seconds left in the first half, cutting the Rutgers lead to 17-3.

Rutgers extended its lead to 24-3 with 12:27 left on a 10-yard scoring run by Aaron Young, which came after Fryfogle lost a fumble on a punt return at the Indiana’s 10-yard line.

Raiqwon O’Neal scored later in the third quarter on a tackle eligible play, taking a lateral pass from Vedral for a 7-yard TD run to put Rutgers up 31-3.

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Chez Mellusi (6) carries the ball as Rutgers Scarlet Knights defensive lineman Mayan Ahanotu (92) and linebacker Tyreek Maddox-Williams (9) pursue  during the first half at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

No. 21 Wisconsin routs Rutgers for fifth straight win

Graham Mertz threw three touchdown passes and Braelon Allen rushed for 129 yards as 21st-ranked Wisconsin easily extended its winning streak to five games with a 52-3 rout of host Rutgers on Saturday.

The Badgers (6-3, 4-2 Big Ten) moved into a tie with first-place Minnesota in the West Division. They began the day in a three-way tie for second with Iowa and Purdue and have outscored opponents 153-37 during their streak.

Wisconsin became bowl-eligible for the 20th straight season and scored its most points in a conference game since a 59-24 win over Nebraska on Nov. 15, 2014. The Badgers’ defense produced four turnovers on Saturday.

Mertz completed 11 of 16 passes for 240 yards and threw TD passes to John Chenal, Kendric Pryor and Danny Davis III.

Wisconsin scored three times in the final 5:18 of the first half to take a 31-3 lead. Mertz’s TD pass to Davis was a 72-yarder with 6:44 left in the third quarter, and it gave the Badgers a 45-3 lead.

Mertz was lifted late in the third for Chase Wolf, who directed a drive that ended with Jackson Acker’s 18-yard TD run for a 52-3 lead with 1:59 left in the third.

Allen averaged 8.6 yards on 15 carries and posted his fifth straight 100-yard game. Chez Mellusi ran 15 times for 75 yards as the Badgers gained 305 yards on the ground and 579 yards of total offense.

Rutgers (4-5, 1-5) lost for the fifth time in six games since a season-opening, three-game winning streak and has yet to exceed 20 points in any conference game.

Scarlet Knights quarterback Noah Vedral was 8 of 16 for 81 yards. He was intercepted twice and sacked twice as Rutgers was held to 95 rushing yards.

Rutgers suffered its most lopsided loss of the season and scored its only points on a 24-yard field goal by Valentino Ambrosio with 4:34 remaining in the first quarter.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2021; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights quarterback Noah Vedral (0) is tackled by Illinois Fighting Illini defensive back Sydney Brown (30) in the first half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers rallies past Illinois to halt four-game slide

Noah Vedral ran for the go-ahead 15-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter and Rutgers halted a four-game losing streak with a 20-14 victory over Illinois in Big Ten action Saturday afternoon in Champaign, Ill.

Vedral survived two trips to the sideline medical tent and produced a strong all-around showing as the Scarlet Knights (4-4, 1-4 Big Ten) won for the first time since beating Delaware on Sept. 18.

Vedral completed 10 of 21 passes for 138 yards and also gained 56 yards on six carries as Rutgers gained 230 yards on the ground against the Fighting Illini (3-6, 2-4).

His biggest run came after he returned from his second trip to the tent. Two plays after Gavin Wimsatt kept the drive alive by hitting Bo Melton for a 13-yard reception on fourth-and-5 in his collegiate debut, Vedral stayed in bounds with a 15-yard run down the left sideline for a 17-14 lead with 14:16 to play.

Isaih Pacheco led Rutgers with 91 rushing yards and Kyle Monangai added 77, including a 7-yard TD with 4:20 left in the first quarter.

Valentino Ambrosio kicked field goals of 35 and 25 yards for Rutgers, which bounced back nicely from a 21-7 loss at Northwestern two weeks ago.

Coming off last week’s record-setting nine overtime win at Penn State, Illinois turned to Brandon Peters after former Rutgers quarterback Art Sitkowski suffered a season-ending arm injury.

Peters completed 14 of 19 passes for 190 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He threw a 52-yard TD to Isaiah Williams with about 10 minutes left in the second quarter for a 7-7 tie and added a 26-yard TD to Daniel Barker with 1:28 left that put Illinois up 14-10 at halftime.

Chase Brown was held to 67 rushing yards after getting 223 at Penn State. He was stopped by Rutgers defensive back Kessawn Abraham for a 4-yard loss with 65 seconds left that essentially sealed the win for Rutgers.

–Field Level Media

Oct 9, 2021; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini quarterback Brandon Peters (18) runs with the ball as Wisconsin Badgers defensive tackle Keeanu Benton (95) pursues in the first half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

After marathon win, Illinois out to make quick work of Rutgers

Illinois is riding high after surviving the longest game in college football history and knocking off an elite opponent.

Coming off a nine-overtime win at Penn State, Illinois seeks a second straight win when it hosts skidding Rutgers Saturday afternoon.

The Fighting Illini (3-5, 2-3 Big Ten) pulled off a 20-18 win at then No. 7 Penn State when it won the NCAA’s first nine-overtime game. Casey Washington caught the game-winning two-point conversion from Brandon Peters to cap a game that was deadlocked at 10-all after regulation.

Peters, who began the season as the starter, threw the winning pass in place of former Rutgers quarterback Artur Sitkowski, who was injured in the sixth overtime. Sitkowski, who suffered a broken arm, is out for the season.

“We had to just dig deep — dig deep inside,” Illinois defensive lineman Keith Randolph said. “I felt like we were built for this. All of our training paid off. We don’t want games like this, but we want to win games like this.

The upset occurred two weeks after Illinois totaled 93 yards and held the ball for 17:17 in a 24-0 loss to Wisconsin. Against Penn State — which entered the game allowing 110.3 rushing yards — Chase Brown finished with 223 yards and Josh McCray added 142 as Illinois finished with 357 rushing yards, marking the second time it has rushed for 300 yards this season.

While Illinois was making history, Rutgers, (3-4, 0-4) has had two weeks to stew over a 21-7 loss at Northwestern. The Scarlet Knights are on a four-game losing streak and have totaled 46 points after scoring 123 points in a season-opening three-game winning streak against Temple, Syracuse and Delaware.

Against Northwestern, quarterback Noah Vedral was 18 of 30 for 152 yards and Rutgers totaled 222 yards of offense while getting penalized 11 times for 90 yards after entering the game as the conference’s least penalized team.

“Totally unacceptable,” Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. “We were doing really well at the beginning of the year; we were No. 1 in the country in penalties. … (against Northwestern) we fell off a cliff.”

“It’s very disappointing. We certainly have to assess where we are and why we’re here and see what we can do to fix it. Some of it is personnel; some of it is execution. We’re trying to find an answer.”

Saturday is the eighth all-time meeting, and Illinois notched its third straight win in the series on Nov. 14, 2020 in Piscataway, N.J. when it rushed for 338 yards, forced three interceptions and got a game-winning field goal from James McCourt in a 23-20 win.

–Field Level Media

Oct 16, 2021; Evanston, Illinois, USA; Northwestern Wildcats running back Evan Hull (26) runs with the football in the first half against Rutgers Scarlet Knights linebacker Mohamed Toure (58) at Ryan Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern prevails in rekindled series with undisciplined Rutgers

Ryan Hilinski threw for two touchdowns and host Northwestern bounced back with a 21-7 victory over undisciplined Rutgers Saturday afternoon in Evanston, Ill.

Northwestern (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten) rebounded nicely from its disastrous 56-7 loss at Nebraska two weeks ago by riding a balanced showing from its offense in the first home meeting with Rutgers since 1989.

Hilinski completed 18 of 33 passes for a season-high 267 yards and was not sacked after getting sacked four times at Nebraska. He connected with Malik Washington on a 64-yard TD with 6:36 remaining in the first and a go-ahead 2-yard TD to tight end Marshal Lang with 3:15 remaining in the first half.

Hilinski completed five passes apiece to Washington and Stephon Robinson Jr. Robinson finished with 115 yards and Washington had 84 yards.

Northwestern ran 48 times and gained 135 yards as Andrew Clair and Evan Hull combined for 116 yards.

The Scarlet Knights (3-4, 0-4) entered the game averaging four penalties per game — the fewest in the Big Ten — but were assessed 11 penalties for 90 yards and dropped their fourth straight.

Three of those penalties, including an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the team’s sideline occurred on Northwestern’s game-clinching drive that culminated with Clair’s 3-yard TD for a 21-7 lead with 7:33 remaining.

Rutgers quarterback Noah Vedral completed 18 of 30 passes for 152 yards while getting sacked three times before being replaced by Evan Simon. Bo Melton finished with eight receptions for 101 yards, including a game-tying 18-yard TD with 8:44 left in the second.

Northwestern took the lead with 6:36 remaining in the first quarter when Hillinski found Washington in the middle of the field on 2nd-and-2. Melton barely stayed in bounds at the back of the end zone for a 7-7 tie, but Northwestern regained the lead and dominated the rest of the way on a day in which the 1995 Rose Bowl team was honored.

–Field Level Media

Oct 9, 2021; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Michigan State Spartans wide receiver Tre Mosley (17) is tackled by Rutgers Scarlet Knights defensive back Kessawn Abraham (5) during the first half at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Payton Thorne fuels No. 11 Michigan State past Rutgers

Payton Thorne connected with Jalen Nailor on three long touchdown passes in the first half to pace No. 11 Michigan State to a 31-13 win over Rutgers on Saturday in Piscataway, N.J.

Thorne completed 16 of 27 passes for 339 yards and Nailor had five receptions for 221 yards for the Spartans (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten).

Kenneth Walker III rushed for 233 yards on 29 carries. His 94-yard touchdown run in the second half was the longest play from scrimmage in school history.

Michigan State, which became bowl eligible, finished with 599 yards of total offense. The defense held Rutgers to 2.8 yards per carry.

Noah Vedral completed 16 of 31 passes for 208 yards for the Scarlet Knights. Shameen Jones caught seven passes for 84 yards.

Rutgers (3-3, 0-3) was facing its third straight ranked opponents, all in the Big Ten.

Nailor’s huge first half gave Michigan State a 21-13 advantage at intermission.

The Scarlet Knights scored on their first possession. Vedral’s 33-yard run set up Johnny Langan’s 4-yard shovel pass to Aron Cruickshank.

Nailor’s first touchdown came on a 63-yard connection with Thorne in which he beat one-on-one coverage.

Valentino Ambrosio’s 26-yard field goal gave Rutgers a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter.

Nailor’s second 63-yard scoring reception included a nifty move to elude multiple defenders. He caught the ball along the right sideline, then cut toward the middle with 10:18 left in the half.

A Spartans fumble set up Ambrosio’s 29-yard field goal but Michigan State needed just one play from scrimmage to answer that score. This time, Thorne connected with Nailor, who entered the game with 269 receiving yards and three touchdowns, on a 65-yard pass play.

Walker, who entered the week leading the FBS in rushing yards, gave the Spartans some breathing room midway through the third quarter with his 94-yard run. He burst through the middle, eluded a trio of defenders near his own 30-yard line and raced into the end zone.

Matt Coghlin added a 35-yard field goal with less than two minutes remaining.

–Field Level Media

Michigan State Spartans running back Kenneth Walker III jumps over Western Kentucky Hilltoppers defensive back Beanie Bishop on Saturday, Oct. 02, 2021.

Msu Wku

No. 11 Michigan State looks to keep rising at Rutgers

Michigan State entered the season as an afterthought. The Spartans are now knocking at the door for a Top 10 ranking.

The Spartans (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) moved up to No. 11 in the latest poll and can continue their surprising re-emergence on the national scene with a victory at Rutgers (3-2, 0-2) on Saturday in Piscataway, N.J.

Second-year coach Mel Tucker said he has addressed the team about the importance of remaining on an even keel.

“We consistently tell them that the voices inside of our building, inside of our meeting room space, have to be louder than the voices outside,” he said. “There’s a standard of performance set by our coaching staff and there’s expectations of how we need to play. The opponents change but the standards don’t change, the expectations don’t change.”

Jayden Reed and Kenneth Walker III have performed at a high standard, leading the Michigan State offense — and the nation.

Reed leads all major-college players in all-purpose yardage, with 176.6 per game, and he has truly been an all-purpose player. He has caught at least one touchdown pass in the last four games and he’s returned a punt for a touchdown in two consecutive games.

Walker is the top rusher in FBS, amassing 680 yards (136.0 yards per game). He’s gaining 6.8 yards per carry and has reached the end zone nine times (including one via reception).

Saturday against Western Kentucky, both players were on display in the first half when MSU took a 42-16 lead: Walker rushed for three first-half touchdowns, and Reed scored on an 88-yard punt return and a 46-yard pass reception from Payton Thorne. The Spartans cruised, 48-31.

Thorne passed for a career-high 327 yards and has racked up an average of 247.2 yards a game with 11 touchdowns and only one interception.

The Scarlet Knights were thumped by Ohio State 52-13 last weekend. Their defense was shredded for 541 yards and failed to produce a takeaway for the third straight game. Ohio State led 45-6 at halftime.

Head coach Greg Schiano wants that loss to sting.

“I hope we can’t put it behind us that quickly,” he said. “That wasn’t a great outing, so we have to get to work and that’s what we did. Hopefully, those kinds of things fuel you a little bit and get you cranking here early in the week.”

After four games without being intercepted, Rutgers quarterback Noah Vedral was picked off three times by OSU. He accumulated just 152 passing yards after being limited to 156 by Michigan in a 20-13 loss the previous week.

The Knights’ running game hasn’t taken any pressure off the senior quarterback. Rutgers is averaging 3.6 yards per carry and doesn’t have a run for longer than 26 yards this season.

“We need more production out of the entire offense,” Schiano said.

The Spartans lead the all-time series, 8-4, but Rutgers defeated Michigan State 38-27 in its season opener last year, when the Scarlet Knights forced seven turnovers.

Tucker hasn’t forgotten those giveaways.

“What I remember most about the game was the seven turnovers,” he said. “They scored 21 points off those turnovers. Ball security was an issue. That’s what I remember the most. That’s the first thing we showed them on Monday.”

Schiano believes the defense needs to deliver some takeaways in order to pull off an upset.

“It’s going to be very critical,” he said. “Michigan State is excellent with the football. We need to continue to work at it.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 25, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes defensive tackle Antwuan Jackson (52)celebrates the sack during the second quarter against the Akron Zips at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

No. 11 Ohio State looks to continue dominance of Rutgers

Although their most recent outcomes were very different, No. 11 Ohio State and Rutgers enter their game in New Jersey on Saturday with confidence.

The Buckeyes (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten) have not lived up to their preseason hype, especially in a 35-28 home loss to Oregon on Sept. 11. However, they regained some swagger Saturday by drilling overmatched Akron 59-7 in an impressive debut by freshman No. 2 quarterback Kyle McCord.

“For us, certainly there’s been a little bit of a recalibration,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said Tuesday.

Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said he doesn’t view last week’s 20-13 loss at No. 14 Michigan as a moral victory, but hopes the lessons learned will gird the Scarlet Knights (3-1, 0-1) for the challenge of upsetting the Buckeyes.

“You’re playing in what I think is the elite conference in college football, right?” said Schiano, who was head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012-13, and then spent the 2016-2018 seasons as Ohio State defensive coordinator.

“I liken it much to the NFL, my time there. Any team can beat any other team in this league, on any given Saturday.”

That will be a tall order for the Scarlet Knights, who are 0-7 vs. the Buckeyes since joining the Big Ten in 2014. Ohio State has scored at least 49 points in each of those games, including last season in an empty Ohio Stadium when the 49-27 final was the closest margin in the series.

“Coach Schiano, being around him when he was here, he really inspires,” Ohio State defensive end Haskell Garrett said. “This isn’t the Rutgers it used to be. It’s a great football team.”

The Scarlet Knights are seventh nationally in scoring defense (13.5) and 11th in total defense (262.8). Michigan entered the Rutgers game averaging 350 yards on the ground but gained 112, even less than the 115 yards a game the Scarlet Knights defense is allowing this season.

Ohio State starting quarterback C.J. Stroud did not play Saturday because of a sore shoulder. McCord responded with 319 yards and two touchdown passes.

Day said Tuesday that Stroud would start if healthy.

“I’m optimistic that coming off of Sunday’s practice and with the feedback I’ve got from the medical staff and the trainers that we’re ready to move forward,” the coach said.

The Buckeyes must put aside some internal turmoil. First, following the Oregon game, Day took defensive play-calling duties away from coordinator Kerry Coombs and gave them to secondary coach Matt Barnes.

A week ago, linebacker Dallas Gant entered the transfer portal. During the Akron game, linebacker K’Vaughan Pope got into a sideline argument with the coaches, was sent to the locker then tweeted a derogatory remark about Ohio State. He was dismissed from the team Sunday and entered the transfer portal on Monday.

“There has to be consequences for actions,” Day said.”Our focus now is on Rutgers.”

Schiano doesn’t see his time at Ohio State as an advantage for Rutgers, insofar as it was on Urban Meyer’s staff before Day became the Buckeyes coach.

“It’s been three years now,” he said. “So, I’m kind of removed. A lot of the players that are playing, I still have knowledge of. But they’ve changed. Like, we all change, right?

“We played them last year, though. So, I think that’s as good a tool to use for evaluation as anything is.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 25, 2021; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA;  Michigan Wolverines place kicker Jake Moody (13) kicks a field goal out of the hold by Michigan Wolverines punter Brad Robbins (91) in first half against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

No. 19 Michigan survives rough second half, holds off Rutgers

Hassan Haskins scored two first-half rushing touchdowns and 19th-ranked Michigan held off Rutgers 20-13 in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Saturday.

Blake Corum had 68 rushing yards and Haskins added 41 for the Wolverines (4-0 overall, 1-0 Big Ten) in their conference opener. Cade McNamara completed 9-of-16 passes for 163 yards for Michigan, which was held scoreless in the second half.

Noah Vedral completed 18-of-31 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown for the Scarlet Knights (3-1, 0-1).
Michigan grabbed a 20-3 halftime lead.

The Wolverines opened with a methodical 17-play, 74-yard drive that took 7:36 off the clock in the first quarter. Haskins finished it off with a 1-yard run.
Rutgers had the ball for 13 plays on its first possession but had to settle for a 40-yard field goal from Valentino Ambrosio.

Michigan required only four plays to drive 71 yards on its next possession. The big play was a 38-yard completion from McNamara to Roman Wilson. Haskins finished it off with a 3-yard run.

The Wolverines extended their lead to 14 points with just over four minutes left in the half on Jake Moody’s 32-yard field goal.

The Scarlet Knights tried to convert a 4th-and-10 from Michigan’s 44 in the final minute. It failed and the Wolverines took advantage. A 51-yard pass from McNamara to Mike Sainristil set up Moody’s 20-yard field goal.

Michigan gained just 14 yards and failed to pick up a first down in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Rutgers put together a 91-yard drive to cut the Wolverines’ lead to 10.

A roughing the passer penalty moved Rutgers inside the Wolverines 20-yard-line. Vedral then found Aaron Young wide open on a 14-yard scoring pass.

Ambrosio’s 25-yard field goal during the opening minute of the fourth made it 20-13, but he missed a 29-yard try with 9:38 remaining.

The Wolverines finally picked up a first down with 3:44 remaining on a face mask penalty. Moody missed a 47-yard field goal try with 1:49 left.
David Ojabo forced a Vedral fumble two plays later, and Junior Colson recovered to clinch Michigan’s win.

–Field Level Media